How to Forgive Yourself: 10 Steps to Letting Go of Guilt and Moving On
According to A 2018 research2 published in the journal PLoS One, researchers define self-forgiveness as “a positive change in self-attitudes in feelings, actions, and beliefs after self-perceived wrongdoing or wrongdoing.” They also note that self-forgiveness can help “restore positive feelings and protect yourself [your] general well-being against the toxic effects of guilt, shame, and regret.”
According to therapist and relationship expert Ken Page, LCSW, the opposite of self-forgiveness usually involves denial and/or self-blame. As he tells mindbodygreen, “There’s a constant tendency to think we have to be perfect. It’s a self-defense mechanism because when we’re not perfect, there are consequences, and that’s scary.”
When you develop the ability to recognize and accept your imperfections, “it’s literally one of the best skills in life,” Page says, adding, “And the side benefit of that is that we learn to do that for ourselves, we learn to forgive other people as well “.
Ultimately, as licensed marriage and family therapist Jessie Leader, LMFT, previously told mindbodygreen, self-forgiveness comes down to asking yourself and exploring why things happened, and then working through the feelings associated with the pain.
Self-forgiveness, she says, isn’t so much about letting go, but rather about “having a better relationship with that part of you.”